Precisely Ruled Revolutions

Only Revolutions could be called a road-trip novel. It could also be called a love story about two immortal sixteen year olds. Or it could be called a book that decided the conventional rules for a books structure were lame and came up with a whole new set. While I could discuss the book or the characters, I’ve been asked to discuss the rules of the story, or the rules of the narratives presentation.

The first of the rules I noticed has already been discussed, but I would like to elaborate on it. In Hailey’s version of the story the letter O or the number 0 is always gold, while in Sam’s story those characters are green. However this rule runs deeper, in that the inside cover for Sam’s story is gold, while Hailey’s is green. This matches up with the characters eyes. Sam’s eyes are gold and flecked with green and Hailey’s are green and flecked with gold, just like their stories.


A far simpler rule is that the date for the spine sections is always written in purple. I assume this is just to draw the eye to the date, as it is easy to miss. Another explanation for purple being the third unusual color within the text is that along with the predominate colors on the covers (red and blue) the colors of the novel can complete a full color wheel, at least in the paperback edition.


Another rule of note is that nouns that refer to physical things like mountains or forests are capitalized. This ties into the rule stated in another blog post that groups of things are presented in all-caps. While I’m only posturing, I figure the reason behind capitalizing the words for physical things is to draw focus away from ideas and onto the things around the characters. At least for me this tended to ground such an ephemeral book.


Finally while this may not be an explicit rule the timeline accompanying Sam’s story intersects Hailey’s story on November 22, 1963, which is the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated and 100 years exactly from the start of Sam’s story. Also the story, based on the inner binding timeline runs for exactly 199 years, 1 month, and 28 days. If this amount is listed in minutes it comes to 104748480, which is a multiple of 360 (the same is true for seconds). I’m not sure if this was intentional or just vague numerology on my part.

Rory Coble

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~ by rbc12 on February 21, 2011.

2 Responses to “Precisely Ruled Revolutions”

  1. The elaboration (2nd) paragraph is very well thought out. However, the original paragraph and this one is not really a constraint but more of a style feature. The author is not restricting himself to anything but rather adding another dimension to the story. Regardless, it is very well thought out and added an extra dimension to my understanding.

    The first constraint you mentioned, honestly, I’m not sure if it is a constraint at all. I think the use of color is stylistic, and you even reference it as to “draw attention to the eye”. The idea of the full color wheel is an interesting note, but I’m not sure if that is the intention. I think, perhaps a little more investigation into the purple might be suitable in a revision, or at least some more elaboration. I’m just not ready to believe this is a constraint.

    Your second paragraph is well written. The only thing I would suggest is maybe an example to illustrate, but I’m not sure if we’re supposed to be writing to the general public or to people who have also read the story. Your reasoning behind this constraint is well-thought and believable.

    I believe the intersection is a constraint with the story. Your investigation into the numerology of the total time of the story fits well with the other constraints listed in these blog posts (where the author has constrained himself to 360 pages, 360 words, etc.)

    Overall, I think you put a great deal of thought into your constraints, even if they might not all be constraints. You supported your ideas without too much “fluff” and gave ideas that further supported my own ideas and readings. Also, you did not repeat constraints.

  2. This was a thorough and well stated comment regarding the parent post. All salient points were addressed and evaluated.
    The comment also addressed issues of constraint versus style, which many students seem to have had trouble with. Useful, constructive feedback was offered in a clear tone.
    Overall, a very well-done and helpful post.

    -Dave Turka

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